An Alpine Escape in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland with Kids

The village of Lauterbrunnen, with Staubbach Falls cascading in the background. Photo by Yü Lan/Adobe Stock

Think of Switzerland, and you probably picture the classic Alpine scenes of the Jungfrau Region: gentle brown cows, snowy peaks, wildflower-speckled meadows and chocolate-box villages. Although we’ve never met a Swiss village that didn’t charm us, those that dot this pristine area each have their own appeal, from the car-free tranquility of Mürren and Wengen to the bustling resort vibe of Grindelwald. Hidden away in a U-shaped valley lies one of our favorites: Lauterbrunnen, surrounded by dozens of plunging waterfalls fed by meltwater from glaciers in the mountains above. With plenty of diversions and a prime location for jaunts to other local hamlets, it’s a perfect home base for a Jungfrau Region itinerary.

Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen with Kids
The village of Lauterbrunnen, with Staubbach Falls cascading in the background. Photo by Yü Lan/Adobe Stock

Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen with Kids

Admire the Waterfalls

Because it’s nestled on the valley floor, Lauterbrunnen doesn’t enjoy the same panoramic views as most Alpine towns at higher altitudes. But the tradeoff is that it’s home to a concentration of spectacular glacier-fed waterfalls, providing endless opportunities for exploration (and photo ops). A mostly flat waterfall hike from Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg passes more than 70 cascades, including the iconic Staubbach Falls. At nearly 1,000 feet, its sheer power and drama will mesmerize every member of the family. It’s visible from the village center and just a quick stroll away, so if kids are too young for a long trek, this is an easy way to get a taste of Lauterbrunnen’s signature scenery.

Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen with Kids
Trummelbach Falls. Photo by Ryszard Filipowicz/Adobe Stock

Trümmelbach Falls, about 2 miles from town in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, are another must-see. These thundering torrents are the only glacial waterfalls in the world that flow underground inside a mountain — access is via a network of paths, stairs and tunnels. There is a funicular-style elevator, but it doesn’t go all the way to the top of the falls; you’ll need to climb the last stretch on foot.

TIP: For safety reasons, kids under 4 aren’t allowed. The paths and stairs can get slippery from the spray, and though there are railings, you will want to make sure younger children stay close to an adult.

Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen
The Ice Palace at the Jungfraujoch. Photo by Fominayaphoto/Adobe Stock

Ascend to the Top of Europe

Without question, the top family activity in the Jungfrau Region is taking a cogwheel train to the 11,000-foot-high Jungfraujoch, a mountain summit known as the “Top of Europe.” Home to an observation deck, a snow park with winter sports like sledding and skiing, and other activities, it also offers a 360-degree vista of the snow-capped peaks and glaciers that surround it. Don’t miss a walk through the Ice Palace and a peek at its shimmering ice sculptures.

When kids get peckish, there’s ample dining onsite. Aletsch restaurant offers traditional Swiss dishes from a self-service line; families who prefer a more upscale experience and varied fare can claim a table at Crystal. There’s also Bollywood, where the Indian cuisine is accompanied by sweeping glacier views.

TIP: A Jungfraujoch outing is best for a clear day — if the mountains are socked in by fog, the panorama loses its wow factor. Check conditions online before you set out.

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Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen with Kids
The revolving Piz Gloria restaurant at the Schilthorn showcases panoramic views. Photo by navintar/Adobe Stock

Follow in James Bond’s Footsteps

While not quite as lofty as the Jungfraujoch, the nearby Schilthorn peak is no slouch at roughly 9,700 feet. Its revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria, was featured in the James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and movie buffs flock there. A quick series of cable cars and trains takes you from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren, where you can catch a cable car to the Schilthorn. Once there, take a spin through Bond World, which includes props, memorabilia and interactive displays themed around this and other Bond films, then grab a bite to eat while you watch the Alpine scenery drift by during Piz Gloria’s 45-minute rotation.

Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen with Kids
Paragliding is among the most popular pastimes in the Jungfrau Region. Photo by Michael Evans/Adobe Stock

Sample Adventure Sports

The Jungfrau Region is an active family’s paradise. Depending on ages and abilities, you can fill your days with paragliding (the biggest local adventure activity by far), mountain biking, ziplining or even skydiving. The mountains and valleys are crisscrossed by a variety of hiking trails geared toward various skill levels, many of them quite steep and challenging. In general, the trails are not stroller-friendly, so a backpack carrier helps if you have a baby or toddler.

Come winter, add skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sledding to the mix. Pistes tend to be best suited for intermediate and advanced skiers, though beginners will find enough variety to satisfy them.

Things to Do in Lauterbrunnen with Kids
Thun Castle. Photo by Schlierner/Adobe Stock

Experience Local Culture

Weather in the Swiss Alps can be changeable. If rain dampens outdoor plans, delve into local heritage with a visit to its cultural and historic sites. The pint-size Tal & Sagen Museum gives a window into the Lauterbrunnen area’s folk history, with demonstrations of artisan traditions like weaving and lace making that delight kids. The traditional Swiss-style Lauterbrunnen Church, with bells that ring several times an hour, is worth a quick peek as well.

If you’re willing to travel about an hour by train, your options expand. Tour Thun Castle and Spiez Castle in the towns of the same name; take a boat cruise on the ice-blue Lake Thun or Lake Brienz; visit the St. Beatus Caves; or learn to make chocolate at Interlaken’s Funky Chocolate Club. And a 90-minute train ride takes you to Bern, the Swiss capital, where you can spend a day exploring its medieval Old Town, perusing its wonderful art and history museums, and spotting bears at the Bear Pit.

Relevant Links:

Browse all family-friendly activities and accommodations in Switzerland on Ciao Bambino

Best places to visit in Switzerland with kids

How to choose the perfect home base in Switzerland’s Jungfrau Region

5 things to do in Luzern, Switzerland with kids

Hiking the Children’s Adventure Trail in Mürren, Switzerland


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